What to Serve with Ravioli: Heavenly Sides for a Classic Pasta
Ravioli appear so innocent and – potentially – bland from a distant.
Small squares (or rounds) of pasta outwardly display little flourish or promise – other than the occasional ruffled edge and a slight bump in the middle.
Oh, but what our eyes are not telling us.
These pasta, with such a humble outward appearance, are treasure chests of flavor, gift-wrapped gastronomical delights, tiny packets that hold a cornucopia.
No, we’re not just being obsequious because ravioli is right here in the room with us and we want them to feel good about themselves.
No, we say these things because ravioli is worth every word.
And every bite. Every. Flavor. Bursting. Bite.
And whether you’re a cheerleader for butternut squash filling or will go to the mat for lobster ravioli, these luscious little packages are worth the effort to find a great side dish.
Deciding what to serve with ravioli doesn’t need to be a quandary anymore, though. The answers are near at hand.
One great place to start is to consider what your filling is and what your sauce will be. These flavors can be a fantastic inspiration for the side dish you choose.
As we often like to say, build off the flavors that are in your main dish.
This can mean using similar flavors. If there’s a pumpkin filling in that ravioli, maybe play around with warming spices in your side dish.
But it can also mean finding the perfect contrasting flavors. Is your sauce thick and creamy? Think about lighter and brighter flavors and crisper textures in a side.
Ravioli leaves you a lot of options and we’re here to help you find some new favorites.
Maybe you’re looking for the perfect bread to soak up a little extra sauce? Or a crispy vegetable side dish to brighten the plate? Or maybe something grilled to add a bit of smoky savoriness?
We’ve got you covered.
Ravioli Side Dishes: Our List of Fantastic Sides
Get your pasta maker out and your apron on, because the flour will be flying and ravioli will be coming together on that workspace in the blink of an eye. And we have a list of side dish ideas to inspire your favorite meal to jump to new heights of joy.
From the unexpected like baby cipollini onions with a sweet balsamic sauce, to family favorites like garlic bread and a good hearty salad – we’ve got the list of ravioli sides that you’re looking for.
1. Balsamic Roasted Cipollini Onions
Some people don’t think that little onions are exciting. We don’t count ourselves among them.
We love, love, love cipollini onions! They’re sweet – and let’s face it – absolutely stunning in an offbeat way.
They’re the billboard that you stop to stare at on the bus. They’re the song you’ve heard only once, but you’re sure you’ve known it since childhood.
Cipollini onions are absolutely original, but comforting too.
And did we mention how bright and sweet they are?
So, we went searching for a recipe that would pair cipollini onions with ravioli.
And guess what?
We found it. Balsamic vinegar elevates these little guy’s sweetness which pairs perfectly with a ripe summer tomato sauce served over plump ravioli.
Grab the recipe from Kyle and Melissa over at Allons Eat!
2. Easy Italian Bread
We love a hearty and soft bread that yearns to soak up sauce.
Whether it’s a cheese sauce, a tomato sauce, or just a butter sauce. (Wait, is there anything “just” about a butter sauce? C’mon. It’s butter!)
So, we thought it would make good n’ delicious sense to pull together a quick and wonderful Italian bread to go with our ravioli.
We found the perfect recipe from In the Kitchen with Matt.
3. Garlic Parmesan Green Beans
Green beans are the snappy little food stuff of the veggie world.
They’re bright and crispy. And they play well with nearly any ingredient that we pair them with.
And we love them with a good amount of garlic and kissed with freshly-grated parmesan.
You know who else loves that? Cheese ravioli in a cheese sauce. The green beans cut through the decadence of the pasta and sauce to make a deliciously well-rounded bite.
They’re easily one of our favorite ravioli side dishes.
We like Lacey’s recipe for garlic parmesan green beans over at A Sweet Pea Chef.
4. Charred Sugar Snap Peas
We love to get a good char on.
And snap peas are the perfect vegetable to take just a titch beyond browning until their natural sweetness is brought into the realm of pure perfection.
How bright and inviting would a mound of lobster ravioli look with blackened sugar snaps surrounding them? Wowza.
As Liz Lemon used to say, “We want to go to there.”
Grab Pamela’s recipe over at Zest for Cooking and get that cast iron skillet preheated for some char love.
5. Grilled Broccoli Rabe with Romesco
Wondering what to serve with butternut squash ravioli?
When we think of butternut squash ravioli, we think of big and bold flavors for sides.
The hearty and delicate texture of the ravioli belies its inner fortitude. Bring on all the savory sumptuousness. Bring on huge flavors!
Butternut squash can hold its own.
So, we like to pair it with sides brimming with color and assertive sweetness and smokiness.
In this case roasted peppers with tomatoes and a touch of vinegar in a romesco sauce drizzled over grilled broccoli rabe.
Grab Dana’s amazing recipe over at Killing Thyme.
6. Spring Salad
We love thoughtful and creative salads with ravioli.
And we mean any type of ravioli.
Whether it’s lobster, squash, cheese, spinach and ricotta – there’s not a ravioli under the sun that doesn’t adore a well-plated salad.
So, when we were wandering through our magical salad check list, we of course thought of herbs. And good greens. And nuts.
And what about blanched asparagus? That would be perfect.
We found just the salad we were looking for from Jeanine and Jack over at Love and Lemons. It’s big and fresh and combines perfectly with any – and all – of our favorite types of ravioli.
7. Ultimate Garlic Bread
On a busy weeknight, we love a good pantry recipe for a side dish that will bring a smile to every face at the table.
And let’s face it, that side dish is garlic bread.
It’s buttery, and herby, and cheesy, and savory.
We adore Rachel’s recipe over at The Stay at Home Chef because of the ease of preparation, (“Hello, five-minute prep time!”), and the fact that it’s lip-smackingly delicious with spinach and ricotta ravioli.
8. Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
Classics will often be compared to a little black dress. For instance, “Hey. That’s a classic! It’s like a little black dress!”
However, when we think of classics, we think of prosciutto appetizers and sides, especially when wrapped in asparagus.
So, this is just a reminder – if you’re having pasta – pick up some asparagus and prosciutto.
Now, back to your regularly scheduled side dish reading.
We like Natalie’s recipe over at Tastes Lovely. Grab it here.
9. No-Knead Sourdough Rolls
Here, ye! Here, ye! We love to not knead!
Don’t get us wrong, some bread recipes do require a delicate touch, but no-knead breads have a tangy taste and a fantastic texture all their own.
And little no-knead rolls are perfect for ravioli. They absorb sauces like its nobody’s business, and if you’re feeling playful you can toss one down the table to a loved one.
Rolls are one of the most fun answers to what to serve with ravioli.
We really like Vaishali’s recipe over at Holy Cow Vegan. You can grab it here.
10. Parmesan Crisps with Zucchini
An amazing dinner can be transformed into an even more amazing dinner with the addition of a special side dish.
And we sincerely love frico crisps. They’re crispy, irresistible, and – because they’re made with one ingredient – they’re super simple to make.
And we bet you can guess the flavor profile they bring to the plate. (Hint: It rhymes with “shmeeze.”)
But when we stumbled across Stephanie’s recipe for frico surrounding zucchini coins, well that’s a game changer.
This is the side dish your favorite ravioli recipe never knew it wanted so badly. Grab it over at Fresh Start.
11. Creamy Polenta
When we serve lobster ravioli, we like to play with some of the traditional flavors that typically accompany a good lobster boil.
You know where we’re heading with this.
Lobster and corn are soulmates.
And corn and lobster love butter equally.
Which means that with a buttery polenta, you’re hitting all the right notes in the melody called “what to serve with lobster ravioli.”
We really like AnneMarie’s recipe at Just a Little Bit of Bacon. Try it. You’ll love it.
12. Simple Egg-Free Caesar Salad
Your favorite spinach and ricotta ravioli are bubbling away in boiling water that’s seasoned perfectly. You’re feeling pretty good. You’ve got the sauce ready to rock the plate, and all is right with the world.
You’d like a quick Caesar salad, and you don’t feel like dealing with an egg because the clock is ticking down and you want to get the salad ready ASAP.
What to do?
How about grabbing Katie’s recipe for a quick and easy Caesar salad sans egg? All the flavor, none of the time consumption.
Check out the salad recipe at Healthy Seasonal Recipes.
13. Braised Leeks
Elegant leeks are rarely overlooked in the produce aisle.
They’re beautiful. They’re multifaceted. They bring a delicate oniony flavor to everything they touch.
And leeks love butter.
So, when we think of cheese ravioli in a rich parmesan sauce, butter and lemon-braised leeks seem like the perfectly flattering side dish.
It’s time for ravioli to get its leek love on.
We like Meghan’s recipe over at Fox and Briar here.
What to Serve with Ravioli: Your Filling Is Your Foundation
So, we’ve covered some of our favorite side dishes for ravioli, but there are some ravioli variations that call for more specificity in choosing your accompaniments.
And we all know it’s all about the filling, right?
Because, let’s face it, the filling is the star in the ravioli.
Your choice of ravioli filling will affect your choice of sauce. And those two choices should be at the top of your mental list when picking the perfect side dish.
The filling is the key when deciding what to eat with ravioli.
So, what’s your favorite filling? Are you a butternut squash ravioli nut? Are you a fan of fancy crab or lobster ravioli or do you prefer earthy mushroom ravioli?
Or do you prefer a lighter spinach ricotta ravioli filling? Or a deeply savory ground meat filling?
Each of these preferences suggest different approaches for your side dish.
Butternut loves sage (and other herbs), so whether you have sage in your sauce or not, get some sage into that side dish, whether it’s roasted root vegetables or a sage vinaigrette for a green salad.
Butternut and other fall flavors, like sweet potato, love a touch of maple and bacon, or a kiss of warming spices, like nutmeg.
A little can go a long way with these flavors, but just a waft of any one of them in a side dish – or an appetizer – is just the thing to serve with butternut squash ravioli.
If your filling of choice is earthier and more savory, using mushrooms, red meats, or sausages, assertive herbs and flavors like rosemary, thyme, garlic, or shallots can all make great elements in your side dish.
Think the garlic parmesan green beans we included in our list above or a smoky romesco sauce.
When serving lighter ricotta-based ravioli with vegetable additions like spinach or spring peas, bright flavors with a touch of richness can make great accompaniments.
Think a harvest vegetable sauté finished with light lemon and fresh parsley, or a crisp salad with herb citrus vinaigrette.
Similarly, shellfish fillings like lobster and crab love, love, love bright acid from citrus and they’ve never met an herb they didn’t like. Think: crab cake sides.
So, these are some of our ideas for what to serve with ravioli, but what’s your favorite go-to side dish?